Touch typing

Question: As I am not a touch typist my employers have suggested that I should learn to touch type to help alleviate the pain and inflammation in my wrists. I am in two minds as to whether this will help or if it will make matters worse…. I had a 5 minute trial session at the local input-output centre 3 days ago and I am still recovering from the exertion of typing properly whilst wearing my splints. Anyone out there who has experienced the same problems as this?

I also started doing yoga over Xmas but have now stopped as I have found that this aggravates my problems even more………so too does swimming which I try to do once a week. I am getting really fed up about all of this and wonder if there is a magical cure out there or am I lumbered with this for life. Any suggestions for lifting this dark veil of depression will be gratefully considered as I have tried lots of different things but no joy so far. I mean, what do you do when you are in so much pain that you can’t think straight or you want a cup of tea yet are unable to lift a kettle without asking for help?

Answer 1: As a touch typist already with tendonitis I’m not sure touch typing is going to actually help you – it’s often the positioning of the hands while touch typing that cause the problems. Sounds like they think they’re being helpful but not really. Is this from an H&S point of view or just a general employer? Keep persevering with the exercise – the swimming in particular although maybe try different strokes to alleviate your arms and hands rather than using them – back stroke often helps for me I find with my arms just at my sides so the water is supporting them and I just move them about a little. Also, don’t feel too proud to ask for help. It’s awful at first but I’m over that first hurdle now and it does get easier.

Answer 2: I’m not sure that learning to touch type will make things any better for you, especially if you are already in pain. I’m no expert on the subject, but from what I’ve learnt from others on this list, and from other sources, touch typists are especially at risk because their posture and the way they hold their hands/arms is more static than typists who hunt and peck to a certain extent i.e. the hunter/peckers get a more varied movement, which is better for you. I sympathize with your depression, as I am going through a black pit of the same at the moment. I’m pinning my hopes on a very gradually improvement – eventually brought about by stretching, pacing myself, physiotherapy and posture retraining, but I don’t expect to get rid of it entirely as I must continue to use computers to earn my living. My aim is to learn to manage and accept RSI as I don’t think there’s a miracle out there… Good luck and best wishes.

Answer 3: Sounds like me a couple of months ago, so I know just how you feel. It’s scary isn’t it? As an incredibly positive person, it’s a bit of a shock when you find yourself so useless you can’t dry your hair for work or lace up your favourite shoes. It was only 2 years ago I was dinghy racing twice a week, climbing and doing one hell of a lot of gardening and DIY, which I love. BUT… I’ve managed to find a good physio who actually knows what he’s talking about and although the exercises can be painful to begin with (I’ve been doing them for 30 days now, every hour or so, and mainly stretching) I am now really excited because I can hold the steering wheel with two hands. I can sit at my computer for more than half an hour without pain. I’m now typing this with virtually no pain at all. I know everyone is different and this may not help you but keeping up with the RIGHT exercises can’t be a bad thing, surely. 

Answer 4: Reading you loud and clear. I can touch type but I’m fortunate to be able to avoid it most of the time. Don’t do it. Suggesting touch typing as a ‘cure’ shows a dismal lack of understanding of the nature of the issue. I’ve started yoga recently and, for me, it seems to help. I also find massage helpful but there is no guarantee, obviously, that it will work for you… What I would say is, that if it makes your symptoms worse, don’t do it. Your employer has a duty of care. Your health comes first. Good luck and don’t despair,

Answer 5: It doesn’t really help, but I can sympathise. I have been very depressed due to my RSI. I have tried lots of things too. I finally started turning the corner when I saw a very good physiotherapist who specializes in Upper Limb Disorders. No magical cure I’m afraid, but the combination of all his advice and reading a v. useful book (Maggie Balck – Coping Successfully with RSI) has helped. I also had a consultation at work with an ergonomics expert who watched me work and gave lots of useful pointers and adjusted my workstation. I too am going to learn to touch type at her suggestion – mainly because my problem could stem from nerves in my neck and looking at the keyboard too much aggravates this. How about suggesting to your employers that they buy you voice recognition software! Hope you turn the corner soon.

Answer 6: In response to your agony, my mum suffered awfully from RSI and finally got an operation. She still has her moments, but the good times definitely out way the bad now. My mother had her operation in New Zealand as she lives there but maybe if you check out the NHS they might be able to help you. As for the touch typing situation, my mum typed approx 75 words a minute and she got RSI, so personally I really wouldn’t know the difference if you touch type or not. Make sure your chair is the right height with the chair back straight and your legs and arms at a 45 degree angle. Also do not rest your hands on the desk when typing. Every 15 minutes while sitting let your arms hang and give them a little shake to get the blood flow moving. I hope this helps your situation, I know my Mum got a little relief from this.

Answer 7: I’m curious to know what kind of surgery your “mum” had!

Answer 8: I will find out the name or technical terms of the operation. I am in London but am calling her in the next week, so will ask her for you. I would like to help anyone I can as when I went home for a holiday last year, seeing my Mum in pain drove me to tears.

Answer 9: Can’t bear the thought of giving up sailing, climbing etc. Can you describe briefly what those exercises that you have started are (or let me know where I could access them -website link, health flyer? I’m not sure my physio is very experienced with the condition.


Touch typing — 1 Comment

  1. Hi everyone,

    Just to let you know, touch typing GAVE me RSI !!!
    Stay away, and I mean it.

    At the moment, I can’t use screw drivers, touch type or grip hard into something for a length of time.

    If I do, both forearms will inflame REALLY bad, and only ice can calm it down.


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